Info snacking vs. book-reading: Kindle hurting books and other long texts despite Bezos’ original hopes?
September 25, 2008 | 12:53 pm
By Joe Wikert
In my pre-Kindle days I’d spend my reading sessions going through a few magazines as well as a chapter or two of whatever book I happened to be immersed in that week.
The key point is that the majority of my time was spent reading books.
Book time vs. newspaper time
Nowadays I spend just as much time reading as before, but it’s all centered around my New York Times subscription, my Kindlefeeder RSS feeds and either Time magazine or my most recent addition, MIT’s Technology Review magazine.
I purchased and started reading three other books on my Kindle, but I haven’t touched any of them in at least two weeks.
So for some strange reason, I’m finding the Kindle experience to be more useful when it’s focused on shorter length, more time-sensitive content. Jeff Bezos has spoken before about our current culture’s tendency towards "information snacking", or spending more time with shorter-length works.
Amazon’s e-reader is supposed to help us embrace longer works (like books) again, but if my experience is any indication, the Kindle (and its wireless functionality) is turning out to be yet another device that enables even more info snacking.
Moderator: Agree or disagree with Joe? Meanwhile see Springer white paper discussing how people use e-books and related tech—mostly for reference, it turns out, although e-books should gain traction in the future (via PersonaNonData and Peter Brantley’s e-mail list).
Of course, the library-related usage could differ from general usage?
Still, the findings are of interest just the same. Just what could they mean for linear text? Perhaps the book world should spend just a bit less time on nonlinear-text projects and a lot more time figuring out ways to make novels and other long texts more inviting in E. – D.R.